8 Ways To Encourage Change Agents In Government, What Are Yours?
1. Drawing on change agents in a local environment to solve a local problem innovatively. Example: CBP's Small Vessel Reporting System, which started as a pilot in Florida. I worked on the outreach for the project, which is critical when you consider the potential threat a terrorist can do with hidden WMD in a small boat, where they might leave the U.S., pick up a weapon, then try to come back in "under the radar."
2. Appointing change agents as leaders. Leaders, for all their human frailties, are normally extraordinarily driven workaholics who are literally unable to fail. There is something inside them that motivates them to persist no matter what. The problem comes when they get scared. But when they are confident and charging toward a noble goal, people are drawn to that and they will follow.
3. Putting change agents in charge of social media, especially YouTube because this is a medium most people can follow and comment on. Government words are usually too complicated and too negotiated for the average person to understand.
4. Letting change agents find ways to engage the average citizen - through media they can easily use, like texting or telephoning. Example: See Something, Say Something (also coordinated between public sector, private sector, local, etc.)
5. Putting change agents in charge of cross-functional initiatives like cooperation between the public sector, private sector, academia and NGOs - nationally and internationally. Example: human trafficking, anti-counterfeiting.
6. Establishing a real and transparent process for change agents to submit and then follow up on ideas.
7. Instituting training for people in change management - how to initiate then maintain change. This could take the form of coaching. You would be surprised how often the stupidest things get in the way of the most significant game-changers. If you know ahead of time what works and what doesn't you can eliminate years of frustration. Example: Sharepoint is incredibly good for workflow, but the word "workflow" scared me. So I asked someone at work to show me. I told her about my word block and she said to call it "playflow." Now I can deal with Sharepoint.
8. Supporting change agents with a team of people who can support them in action. Normally there are people who are good at building and people who are good at maintaining, people who are technical and people who are social, and all of them are needed to make change stick.